Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Files Multiple Charges in Long Beach Human Trafficking Case
LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that her office has filed six felony charges against Andrew Jordan, 36, in Los Angeles County Superior Court for allegedly committing human trafficking, pimping, pandering, domestic violence, assault, and a racially motivated hate crime. He was held to answer on these charges on February 3, 2016, and Jordan pled not guilty as charged.
“Human trafficking dehumanizes victims and will not be tolerated in California,” said Attorney General Harris. “We must continue to support victims of human trafficking and help them seek justice. I thank our California Department of Justice attorneys and Special Agents, as well as the Long Beach Police Department, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, and the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office for their commitment to fighting human trafficking.”
On August 26, 2015, detectives from the Long Beach Police Department’s Vice Investigations and Gang Enforcement Sections, with the assistance of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Custody Investigative Services, Operation Safe Jails, and the Los Angeles Human Exploitation and Trafficking Task Force, identified a 23-year-old human trafficking victim who was in custody on a prostitution charge.
At Jordan’s preliminary hearing on February 3, 2016, the victim testified that she was forced by the defendant to perform commercial sex acts with other men. Jordan drove her to an area of Los Angeles she was unfamiliar with and forced her to solicit sex acts from cars passing by. He monitored her whereabouts and ordered her to send him text messages every time she was picked up and every time she completed an act. He collected the money in between and forced her to stay out until she met a quota that the defendant set. She described how the defendant beat her severely when she broke his rules and called her racially degrading slurs to further punish and control her. He coerced her into getting a tattoo of his name on her wrist. The defendant also controlled all of her personal belongings. She testified that she was scared to run away as he kept tabs on her by constantly driving up and down the street. It was not until she was in custody that she was able to tell an officer that she was being abused.
Human traffickers often use verbal and physical abuse to instill fear in their victims, break down their sense of self-worth, and maintain control. This prevents victims from seeking help or running away. Traffickers also often keep control of a victim’s personal belongings, identification, and keys and take victims to work in unfamiliar settings, to further isolate them. Traffickers also force or coerce their victims into getting tattoos featuring the trafficker’s name or moniker to represent ownership.
The defendant has remained in custody since his September 2015 arrest. The next court date is a pre-trial conference on April 27, 2016 and jury trial is set for May 19, 2016.
“This case is another great example of how our partnerships with other law enforcement agencies and non-profit victim advocacy groups protect and support victims of Human Trafficking,” said Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna. “We commend the proactive work of our detectives and will continue to dedicate resources in an effort to combat these violent acts and bring those responsible to justice.”
“I want to commend Long Beach Police, the Sheriff’s Department, and the Attorney General’s Office for their quick work to apprehend and file charges on this extremely dangerous person,” stated Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert. “Our office is proud to partner with these agencies to stop human trafficking and assist the survivors.”
Attorney General Harris has made fighting human trafficking a priority for the California Department of Justice, and has advocated for increased collaboration between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies during the investigation and prosecution of the crime of human trafficking.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Harris announced her sponsorship of Assembly Bill 1731 by Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) to combat human trafficking. The bill creates the Statewide Interagency Human Trafficking Task Force, which would be a permanent collaborative entity led by the California Department of Justice in partnership with other government agencies. In addition to her sponsorship of AB 1731, Attorney General Harris also announced her support for AB 1730 by Speaker Emeritus Atkins, a bill to establish housing programs that provide trauma-informed mental health services for child sex trafficking victims.
Last year, the Office of the Attorney General released a resource guide to help companies comply with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act. The law requires large retailers and manufacturers doing business in California to disclose on their websites their “efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from [their] direct supply chain for tangible goods offered for sale.”
In 2012, Attorney General Harris created a Human Trafficking Work Group and released a report, The State of Human Trafficking in California, which discussed the growth of human trafficking crimes statewide and the challenges with combatting them effectively.